Christiane Drieling


Collage Artist

“I am a collage artist, I found my niche, and my work makes me so happy. I love what I do, and I’ve been enjoying some nice success with it. However, I came to my art through a lot of detours. I was born in Germany and lived most of my adult life in Germany. I moved to the States in 2001 when my husband got a three-year position in Chicago. We always thought, we would move back to Germany after those three years – but we didn’t. We loved the friends we had found, our first house, our neighborhood, we loved going on road trips to see the beautiful sides of this country, and just loved the life we had made here for ourselves. We were missing many things about Germany, but after six years in Chicago, we felt it had already become our new home. Our two kids were born here, and now we are living in Louisiana. Before we moved to the States, I worked as a writer and editor for a German special magazine. Way before then I had a first career as a loan officer in a bank. That is a weird memory for sure and seems so unreal now; at the same time, it kind of suits me to take such job because I was always curious about everything. I gained so many valuable insights into the culture of businesses and bureaucracy while I was working in the bank office. Being an artist was always a goal for me but I felt that learning about the contents – life, people, societal phenomena – was more important to me than learning about painting techniques. So I decided not to go to art school but to earn my Masters degree in Sociology, Psychology and German Literature. When we first got to the States, I was looking for a position in the journalist field to continue where I left off in Germany, and when I didn’t find one, I tried to establish myself as an artist. I developed a collection of handcrafted whimsical and playful objects, from hand puppets and marionettes to small ornaments and toys, all based on German storytelling themes but with additional stories on their own. I participated in numerous juried art events in and around Chicago and enjoyed some nice success. Meanwhile I have moved away from making those small sweet natured objects that I was well known for. I have outgrown this type of art. Because I have more to say, and what I want to say doesn’t fit these objects. Instead, I started working in collage about four years ago. At that time, I was looking for a new start in art, and I challenged myself to create one piece every day for thirty days to find out what that could be. Indeed, the challenge helped me discover what my strong points are: I love working with books because I love stories in any way – reading them, telling them, creating them. I have been writing for years, too, and stories come easy to me. Besides, I am a sociologist, a thinker and observer, and I need an outlet for all that. With my particular collages I have found a way to put all these elements together, and to express my thoughts in a multitude of ways.”


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